The AIF Project

Robert Herd HARKER

Regimental number345
Place of birthDandenong, Victoria
SchoolYannathan State School, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
AddressYallock, via Koo-wee-rup, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Height5' 5.5"
Weight156 lbs
Next of kinFather, Thomas Harker, Yallock, via Koo-wee-rup, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll19 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name31st Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/48/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A62 Wandilla on 9 November 1915
Two ships sailed from Melbourne carrying men from the 31st Battalion Headquarters and Companies A, B, C, and D: HMAT A62,'Wandilla', on 9 November 1915, and HMAT A41, 'Bakara', on 5 November 1915.
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll31st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 July 1916
Place of burialRue-Petillon Military Cemetery (Plot I, Row K, Grave No. 36), France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Thomas and Catherine HARKER, Tallock, Victoria
Family/military connectionsBrother; Corporal George Ernest Harken, Military Medal
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 9 November 1915; disembarked Suez, 7 December 1915.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 16 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 23 June 1916.

Killed in action, 20 July 1916.

Buried Eaton Hall Cemetery by Reverend J. Green, 20 July 1916.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1270402, 206 Pte W.J. GRAHAM, A Company, 31st Bn (patient, 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, England), 8 November 1916: 'He was buried in a cemetery near Eaton Hall Dressing Station at Fleurbaix. He died at the dressing station.' Interviewer's note: 'Witness could not actually state that he had seen him buried or had een his grave, but was told so by the man who buried him.'

Second statement, 210 Pte M. GALE, A Company, 31st Bn, 16 January 1917: '... I can confirm, he had his right arm blown off from the wrist and on the evening of the 19th July last, also a bullet trough the neck and he died on July the 20th whilst on the stretcher.'

Third statement, 223 Pte S. HOGGAN, A Company, 31st Bn, 23 November 1916: 'I was with him in the German trenches at Fleurbaix on July 19th. He was all right when I left on the morning of July 20th. Pte J. Handley ... A. Co. told me that after I left, he had his hand blown off by a bomb, and that he bled to death.'

Fourth statement, 246 Sergeant F. LAW, A Company, 31st Bn (patient, St John's Hospital, Etaples), 24 November 1916: 'We took a German trench on the 19th. and were making further advance from it when a H.E. shell nearly cut his hand off and wounded him badly as well.He was picked up and brought back to the trench and bandaged up. Owing to fierce fire, it was impossible to obtain medical aid; many of the medical officers and S/Bs being killed. Just before dylight, he died, and I was called up, as sergeant of the Coy, but he was dead before I arrived.'

Fifth statement, 6 Sergeant J.A. IRVING, 31st Bn, 5 July 1917: I saw Casualty buried on the 29th July at Fleurbaix, behindthe lines. He was killed by a shell. He was very badly wounded in the chest and throat. His identification disc was deeply imbeded (sic) in his chest, which I removed. He was quite dead when I picked him up. Col. Green 14th Brigade Padre buried Casualty. We put a cross over his grave.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, HARKER Robert Herd
Red Cross file 1270402

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